Just mention chocolaty cake and people think of the much celebrated Sachertorte. The claim is the Sacher is a refined, elegant combination of chocolate flavours. In reality it is a dense, overly rich chocolate cake, heavily coated with chocolate glaze and served with whipped cream. Just thinking about it gives heartburn.

This cake is not some Sacher. The rich ganache layer perfectly compliments the delicate texture of the cake and the half-sweet apricot jam unifies them. The cake holds its own without enhancements, such as ice cream, whipping cream, sauce or fruity toppings. This is my answer to the Sacher.

 Use good quality cocoa and pure chocolate. Use only cake flour.
*Use half-sweet apricot jam. Regular jam is overly sweet and low sugar jams are runny. This pretty much rules out commercial jams. I made apricot jam from CERTO Light Crystals. For 6 cups of prepared apricots only 4-1/2 cups sugar is required. From fresh or frozen apricots, you can also cook up an old-fashioned jam with considerably less sugar.

Not Some Sacher 

Chocolate Piskóta:
8 eggs separated
8 heaping Tbsp sugar
5 heaping Tbsp cake flour
5 heaping Tbsp cocoa

about 1 cup half-sweet apricot jam [do NOT use commercial jam see * notes above]

Chocolate Ganache:
3 oz pure bittersweet chocolate
6 oz pure semisweet chocolate
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/8 cup salted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces

To Make The Chocolate Piskóta
  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick and lemon coloured.
  • Whisk in the cake flour and the cocoa.
  • Stir the flour mixture into the cake batter.
  • Wash the beaters and beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  • Gently fold egg whites into the mixture.
  • Line two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.
  • Lightly spray with cooking spray.
  • Divide the batter between the prepared pans and gently level the tops.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the middle springs back.
  • Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
  • Remove cakes from cake pan and peel off the parchment paper.
 To Make The Chocolate Ganache
  • Chop the chocolate into small, matchstick-size pieces and place in a large stainless steel or heat-resistant bowl.
  • Bring the cream to a rising boil and pour, all at once, over the chopped chocolate.
  • Stir until the chocolate is melted and completely smooth with no lumps.
  • Quickly stir in the softened butter, until completely dissolved.
  • Set aside to thicken to a spreadable consistency.
To Assemble The Cake
  • Piskóta is a foam cake and the top is rounded. Either trim off the top or trim off the rounded edge on the side. It is easier to trim the top flat.
  • Place one cake on a platter.
  • Spread the top with half-sweet apricot jam.
  • Position the second cake on the top.
  • Spread a thin layer of half-sweet apricot jam on the top and the sides.
  • Spread the top and the sides with 1/3 of the chocolate ganache and place in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  • Spread half of the remaining ganache on the top and the sides and return to the fridge to for 15 minutes.
  • Spread the remaining ganache on the cake, smoothing out the impefections.
  • Chill for 15 minutes, slice and serve.



I never had oatmeal as a child and as far as I knew, oats were for horses.  My first experience with oatmeal was in Canada. As a new immigrant, I tended to rely on visual markers. I ran out of flour one day so I went down to the corner store to replace the large bag of "Robin Hood". I carried it home but the Robin Hood turned out to be oatmeal. I didn’t know what to do with it so I dumped 25 pounds of oatmeal into the trash.

Years passed and one day my husband began to make "Goldilocks porridge" for our children. Like their mom, they didn't want to eat oatmeal. Still they hung on to Jim's every word with wide eyed wonder while he cooked up a pot of oatmeal and continued to spin the story. I never figured out how, but the kids were mesmerized into eating oatmeal. After Goldilocks and the bears grew up Jim was the only one eating porridge. Recently I took over the making of oatmeal and I have to say my refined Goldilocks porridge works without a story. It is delicious. Can you guess the new ingredient?


1-1/2 cups water
2/3 cup Robin Hood Large Flake Oats 
1/4 tsp salt 
1/3 cup whipping cream 
2-3 Tbsp brown sugar for topping

  • Place water, oats, and salt in a saucepan.
  • Bring to the boil. 
  • Lower heat to low medium and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • After 4 minutes start stirring continually and cook for 6 more minutes.
  • Stir in the heavy cream and remove pot from the heat.
  • Serve with brown sugar. 
  • Recipe makes 2 moderate sized servings.



Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. Our Thanksgiving celebrates the harvest and the blessings of the past year. Canadian Thanksgiving has nothing to do with the pilgrims or with Columbus Day. Canada does NOT celebrate the colonization of her indigenous people. Weather you celebrate today or tomorrow I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving Day!  

Gravy gives the life back to mashed potatoes and turkey. Hungarians serve carved meats with an au juice called rozsdás lé. The roasts are brined with salt and are juicy and flavourful already. Here in North America we pour gravy over the meat during Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Gravy is a sauce made from the juices that run during roasting large pieces of meat. For extra gravy, it is useful to roast turkey giblets in a small pan beside the turkey. For added flavour use the potato water and the water from the vegetables, excluding the yams and the beets. These would overwhelm the gravy with flavour and/or colour. If the pan juices have a thick layer of fat, discard some and leave some for flavour and texture. Gravy maybe thickened with flour or cornstarch. Mushroom gravy is a variety of gravy made with mushrooms. Onion gravy is from slowly sweated, chopped onions. Gravy does not have to be brown to be flavourful. Gravy thickeners are useful in a pinch but you can run into problems if you don’t read the instructions. I think it is just as easy to make gravy from scratch. Like everything else, it also tastes better. 

Turkey Gravy

turkey juices
turkey fat
crispy bits from the bird
potato water
various vegetable waters [not yam or beet]
2-3 Tbsp flour or cornstarch
cold water to make loose paste with thickener
onions or mushrooms sautéed in butter – these are optional

  • The turkey is resting under aluminum foil. The dressing is in the oven. Time to make the gravy.
  • With a large serving spoon, remove most of the fat from the turkey juices. Leave some though.
  • Using oven mitts pour the turkey juices into a pot for the gravy. 
  • Add all the reserved cooking liquids from the potatoes and the vegetables. [omit beets and yams]
  • To thicken gravy with flour or cornstarch, combine a couple of tablespoons with COLD water. The mixture should not be lumpy or too thick.
  • Then gradually stir it into the hot turkey juice.
  • Slow simmer the gravy to the desired thickness.  
  • When the gravy is ready, pour it through a fine sieve into a spouted bowl or an extra large measuring cup.
  • Add the sautéed onions or mushrooms if using. Give it a stir.
  • Transfer gravy to serving bowls or pitchers.
  • The gravy boat is just for show, it barely holds enough gravy for a couple of servings. 



This dish is quick to make and makes a wonderful alternative to the annual bird offering. Traditions are funny things, often there isn’t one, it just gets fabricated to promote tribal belonging. Of course as someone once said “Just because something is traditional is no reason to do it.” 

When my fifth grade teacher branded me an “anarchist bandleader”, it was a warning sign for my parents. As far as I can remember I always waged a fight against tradition, I even found my sapiosexual soul mate for my secret and not so secret wars. When we were young, we used to stay up until two in the morning talking. This was always interesting with a history-philosophy major so forty-eight years later we are still at it, though not so late into the night. The two of us managed to live a conventional life and the truth only surfaced occasionally. But when it did it always wrecked havoc and uprooted some type of “tradition”. With that in mind, I thought Caramel Apple Pork Chops would be a perfect choice for Canadian Thanksgiving. I have my thoughts on the Fruits of The Fall Harvest and the Thanksgiving Myth but I will leave that for another dish.  

Caramel Apple Pork Chops

4 to 6 slices of medium thick, boneless pork loin chops
3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp oil [I used grape seed]
1 large red onion, sliced
salt to taste
1 very large yellow delicious apple
1/8 cup of cream cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup + rose wine

  • Wash the pork chops and pat dry with paper towel. [Blood sticking to the meat is not great flavouring]
  • Place the chops on a tray and lightly sprinkle with salt.
  • Cover with plastic film and set aside on the counter for 1 hour.
  • Slice the red onion and set aside.
  • Heat a non-stick skillet on slightly higher than medium heat.
  • Add the butter and the oil.
  • Add the pork chops to the skillet and sauté, turning over until cooked through.
  • Quarter the apple, leaving on the skin, and remove the cores.
  • Cut each quarter into 3 even slices. Set aside.
  • Transfer the chops to a dish and set aside.
  • There should be sufficient buttery oil left in the skillet, if not add a bit of butter and oil.
  • Add the onions to skillet and sprinkle with salt.
  • Add the apple slices and sauté for a couple of minutes stirring with a wooden spoon.
  • When the onions began to caramelize, add the wine.
  • Add the pork chops and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pork chops. The alcohol will cook off, but the flavour will retain.
  • Transfer the chops to a medium Dutch pot and set aside.
  • Stir the cream cheese into the remaining onion and apple mixture in the skillet.
  • Add the heavy cream and give it a good stir.
  • Immediately pour the contents of the skillet over the chops.
  • Heat though and serve.



These eggs were one of my fondest memories of supper. Supper or as Hungarians call it vacsora is a light meal. We never had eggs for breakfast we only had it in the evening. These eggs were rare; we only had it when the large yellow peppers were in high season.

If you are wondering, where is the paprika? In Hungarian “paprika” can mean one of two things. Paprika can mean the vegetable, capsicum or the spice made from the red ones... This is no more confusing then the use of pepper in English. It can mean the vegetable or the totally unrelated spice, black pepper.

Making eggs in the skillet requires two things. The first one is the temperature. Too high temperature is the death of eggs. Leathery, burnt eggs have a foul flavour and a nasty texture. Cook it on medium heat, not too low and not too high. The other factor is the use of lard. Yes lard! You can make it with oil, butter or margarine, but those eggs will taste better and cook up easier if you use lard or shortening. I avoid shortening for health reasons but there is nothing wrong with a bit of lard. Fat is the substance human brain cannot function without. When you get to be a senior citizen like me, you are increasingly aware how people pass from this world. For some unknown reason, statistics show that there are more incidences of Alzheimer’s among skinny people. Could it be they failed to feed the brain with fat?

Bell Pepper Eggs - Zöldpaprikás Rántotta

1 large Hungarian yellow pepper [not hot], sliced
1 Tbsp lard
3 eggs
salt to taste

  • Quarter a large yellow pepper, remove and discard the core and the stem.
  • Slice the flesh into strips.
  • Break the eggs into a bowl and set it aside.
  • Heat up a non-stick skillet on medium heat.
  • Add the lard and melt it.
  • Add the sliced pepper and sauté for two minutes stirring often.
  • Meanwhile whisk well the eggs and salt it to taste.
  • Pour the eggs onto the peppers, tilting the pan.
  • Make sure the temperature is at medium. Gently pull parts and turn over to cook the eggs evenly.
  • When the eggs are no longer runny but still shiny in parts remove the skillet from the heat. There still be residual heat left and the egg will continue to cook.  
  • Serve immediately with a thick slice of homey bread.



The butter flavour is always intense. If this recipe looks familiar, it is because it is. It only took me 10 years to figure out why these potatoes sometimes work and why they don’t. It is because of the type of potato I use. Large russets [baking potatoes] are the best. Forget the red ones.

The Story:

Horseshoe Bay is a gateway community to British Columbia's Westcoast. This very picturesque village has the terminal for Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, and to Bowen Island and Langdale on the Sunshine Coast. It is also the starting point of the Sea to Sky Highway that hangs on cliffs as it winds its way along Howe Sound to Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton.

Located at the entrance of Howe Sound, Horseshoe Bay is a bedroom community for Vancouver and area with interesting shopping, marina and full tourist facilities. In one of the quaint little restaurants with the red chequered tablecloths was where I first tasted butter fried potatoes.

Butter Fried Potatoes

2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed clean 
2 Tbsp butter 
1 Tbsp olive oil 
salt to taste 

• Slice the potatoes. 
• Heat up the skillet and melt the 2 Tbsp butter with 1 Tbsp olive oil on high heat. 
• Add the potato slices and sprinkle them with salt. 
• Turn down the heat to medium and place a lid on the top. 
• Occasionally shuffle the potato slices, but there is no need for all the slices to crisp up. 
• After 10 minutes remove the lid and serve.

Butter Fried Potatoes with Parsley

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It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. Happy cooking!